Livestream with Paul Polman: Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take

Posted for Rod Lohin

Series Host: Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Topic: Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take (Harvard Business Review Press)

Livestream Details: The Livestream is November 17, 5-6 pm Eastern Standard Time.

On November 10, Rotman Events will email registrants the link to the page where you can watch the livestream.

REGISTER HERE For members of the Network for Business Sustainability, use promocode NETPOSITIVE2021.

About Our Speakers:

In 2009 Paul Polman became the CEO of Unilever, the first from outside the company in its century-plus history. He created a new framework for decision-making in the organization to focus the business on multiple stakeholders and long-term value creation, committing the company to doubling its sales while keeping its footprint flat, to touching one billion people, and to greatly improving the lives of suppliers around the world. Peers and experts have ranked Unilever as the most sustainable company—above long-standing, privately run leaders like Patagonia and IKEA—for eight years. Today, Polman is cofounder and Chair of IMAGINE, a for-benefit organization and foundation that mobilizes businesses around the UN Global Goals.

Andrew Winston is one of the world’s most widely read writers and thinkers on sustainable business. His books on sustainability strategy, including Green to Gold and The Big Pivot , have sold more than 150,000 copies in seven languages. Winston has also written cover stories for Harvard Business Review and published hundreds of articles in HBR , MIT Sloan Management Review , and other outlets. He was recently selected for the Thinkers50 Radar 2020 , a list of “30 thinkers to watch out for in the coming year.” His views on strategy have been sought after by many of the world’s leading companies, including 3M, DuPont, HP, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, Marriott, PepsiCo, PwC, and Unilever.

Book Synopsis: Runaway climate change and persistent inequality are ravaging the world and humanity. Who can help lead us to a better future? Business.

These massive dual challenges—and other profound shifts like pandemics, resource constraints, and shrinking biodiversity—threaten our very existence on the planet. Yet division and discord risk undermining our response, just when we need to come together. Global partnership and leadership are lacking, free trade and globalization are under attack, and populism continues to breed intolerance and disruption.

At this critical time in history, the imperative to reimagine our economies and companies could not be more urgent. Fortunately, many in the business community—from large corporations to microenterprises—are helping to solve our most profound challenges by deploying long-term, purpose-led business models that put people and planet first. And they are profiting on this new path with new tools, AI and data-driven transparency, and radical improvements in the economics of clean technologies.

The key question has flipped from “Why would you do sustainability?” to “Why wouldn’t you?”

In this paradigm-shifting book, former Unilever CEO Paul Polman and sustainable-business guru Andrew Winston provide a model to help leaders build companies that contribute more to the world than they use or take—that is, net positive companies. They bypass the last gasps of denial to show how purpose and profits are inextricably linked and how collective action can deliver the scale of change and transformation the world needs.

Net Positive outlines the principles and practices for surviving and thriving, based on the experience of one world-leading company, Unilever, and other groundbreaking global organizations. This essential book is for leaders, executives, managers, and professionals who want to succeed, but know that winning requires caring deeply about serving the world. Building a net positive company is the key, and this book shows the way.